School Dropout Rates

The Link Between School Dropout Rates and Crime Rates


The survey was based on the hypothesis that increased school dropout rates lead to high levels of crime rates in the society. Accordingly, questions on the topic were effectively formulated and administered to four respondents through interviews. Interviews were the preferred channel because of their reliability in terms of measuring the accuracy of answers based on the respondents facial expression and gestures. They also allow close contact with the individual hence boosting confidentiality and time saving in the collection of the required details.

This paper explores various issues related to the survey in terms of conceptualization and operationalization, productivity, and overall performance as an interviewer.

Conceptualization and Operationalization

According to Babbie (2013), conceptualization refers to the process of defining what is being studied in the most precise way possible. The research question guiding this survey was, is there a link between high levels of school dropout rates and crime rates in the society? The research question were effective in conceptualizing the variables of this study. With the survey questions, it was easier to define the independent variable school dropout rates, as the level at which students fail to complete their education. The dependent variable crime rates, could also be easily defined easily through the survey questions as matters relating to robberies, carjacking, and other thefts.

Wysocki (2007) notes that operationalization is concerned with the measurement of the concept after it has been clearly defined. In line with this survey, it could be noted that survey questions operationalized the variables in the most effective manner. It was easier to measure both the independent variable of school dropout rates, and the dependent variable of crime rates. Clearly stated survey questions offer a guidance to the definition of complex concepts in any given research. With the survey questions, it was easier to operationalize the concept of school dropout rates by looking at the number of students that do not attend school, those who run away from school, and the overall level of educational completion. The answers of respondents to these questions played an instrumental role in its measurement and understanding. This was a similar case when trying to define crime rates, as the survey questions presented the opportunity to measure it through diverse activities such as robberies, muggings, and other crime forms.

Critique the Questions of the Survey

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Several questions were asked in the survey. One of the most troublesome questions was about the racial levels of school dropout. Specifically, the respondents were supposed to state whether the levels of school dropout rates are more common in one racial group or if it is fairly spread. In line with the view of Rumberger (2011), it was a troublesome question because of its emotive nature from respondents who were drawn from different races. Some of them could easily conclude that the level of school dropouts affected once race compared to the other while some believed it was fairly distributed. On most occasions, questions touching on race are tough for respondents to answer especially if it relates directly to them.

Another troublesome question related to the role of the government in trying to regulate the level of school dropout and the crime associated with it. Clear and direct answers could not be drawn on this, as respondents came up with various views. While some agreed that the government is assisting in to address the problem, others were opposed to the view. This question could have been troublesome because of the varying political ideologies among respondents. Some were Leftist while others were Rightist, so they defended their views depending on their governmental support.

The most successful question was about the action that should be taken about parents and children who drop out of school. All respondents strongly agreed with the view that both parents and children who perpetrate dropout rates must be prosecuted. Rumberger (2011) suggests that the law should be made in such a way that it curbs both school dropout rates and the associated crime rates. This question could have been the most productive because of the massive social concern it raises in the society. Nobody wants to live in a society where illiteracy and crime are the order of the day. With this understanding, everyone would have wanted to respond positively to this question.

Performance as an Interviewer

I must admit that I performed well as an interviewer. It was my first experience interviewing individuals older than me. I believe that I interacted well with all respondents and performed exceptionally. I understand that standardization in interviews is concerned with enhancing the quality of both the questions and the responses. Basing on the recommendations of Bryman (2012), I enhanced standardization in the interview by reading the questions exactly as worded for all respondents. This was to avoid a situation where I would get completely different answers for the same question. More so, standardization was enhanced through probing clarification and elaboration for unclear responses in a non-directive way that could not influence the content of the answers that were initially presented.


In conclusion, most aspects of the survey were successful, as respondents collaborated in addressing the questions that had been formulated. The questions made it easier to conceptualize and operationalize the variables of the study hence making it more reliable and sensible from a sociological perspective. The fact that the events under study affect the society directly enhanced the quality of the survey questions in defining each of these concepts. Questions that appeared emotive in nature were a bit troublesome because respondents seemed to answer them from a subjective rather than objective perspective that would have made the interview a success. Overall, the interview was successful because it was anchored on questions that are directly applicable to the society.

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